I had a lesson today and talked to Barbara about my frustrations from my last lesson. I told her that she was telling me to drive, drive, drive after the lesson before she told me to balance, balance, balance. He smiled and understood where I was coming from. She said that first you balance and then you drive – it’s a progression. From where she was standing on the ground, it looked like PJ was balanced enough to drive. I told her that it didn’t feel that way. So it really came down to the difference in how something looks and how it feels.
We also talked about how this progression is actually supposed to go. She said (and I agreed) that I needed to get him balanced but then I needed to put the screws to him a little. Be a little more demanding sooner in my ride. Get him sharper. I admitted that I’m softer on him when I ride on my own and that it usually takes about 40 minutes to get him where I want him = pushing off his hind end. She said that my goal should be that it takes 20 minutes.
The other thing was that I tried a friends saddle out, so Barbara could see if it made a difference. It was a Wolfsgang brand (I think). It had very big knee rolls. I kind of liked it as the knee rolls were positioned in such a way that I could use them to push against to make a half-halt. However, I think those big knee rolls would annoy me eventually. I don’t know. But Barbara remarked that I was riding better, so it’s more conformation that I need a new saddle (I wasn’t sitting to the back of the cantle). I can’t wait for my saddle-fitter appointment in 3 weeks and see what she brings.